As a disclaimer, I am in no way endorsing the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol damages just about every vital organ in our bodies. But just to set the record straight, the drug has neither currently nor has it ever killed brain cells. So if you are going to drink alcohol, as do nearly half of the world’s seven billion inhabitants, you may as well know the whole truth.

The old wives’ tale that alcohol kills brain cells dates all the way back to, you guessed it, U.S. Prohibition, according to YouTube’s SciShow. Around the passing of the 18th Amendment, the American Temperance movement began spreading the rumor that alcohol consumption killed our precious brain cells. Due to the slowed movement, slurred speech, and just plain silly actions of drunkards, this rumor was widely accepted as fact and spread like wildfire. In fact, it wasn’t until 1993, exactly 60 years after the repeal of the Prohibition Act, that science was able to finally conclude without a shadow of a doubt that alcohol did not kill brain cells. Researchers compared the brain cells of alcoholics with non-drinkers and found no notable differences.

When alcohol reaches the brain, it disables function by damaging the connective tissue at the end of neurons. This disrupts communication among neurons and makes it harder for an individual to focus or complete minor tasks. However, our bodies are incredibly resilient and for the most part forgiving works of nature. This alcohol-induced cell rampage does minor damage and most definitely does not result in the cell’s death. Now, while the alcohol doesn’t kill brain cells, it certainly does kill people: 2.5 million every year to be exact. So please don’t take this news as an excuse to binge drink, and as with all things in life, practice moderation.